Students in all four grades at Wayland conduct guided, independent research into a subject that captures their interest. At the end of the school year, that research culminates in a polished work by each student.

The capstone project helps students develop the research and writing skills they’ll need in college and creates another opportunity for authentic, student-driven learning.

Each student works with a faculty adviser who oversees their research and writing over the course of the year. Students have explored capstone topics in a wide range of areas, including literature, biology, athletics, the law, and topics such as the effect of meditation and mindfulness on focus and study skills; women in STEM fields; and Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws.

The requirements for the capstone are different at each grade level. Freshmen produce a 5- to 7-page research paper, while sophomores must create a presentation to accompany a 6- to 8-page essay that touches at least two academic disciplines. Juniors write a ten-page essay with an argumentative scope that reaches two unlike disciplines. It must utilize data and statistics, and juniors defend their work to a panel of faculty members. From year to year, students can focus on the same subject from different vantage points and develop a deep understanding of their topic through multiple years of research and analysis.

The senior capstone is composed of an overarching project that reflects a student’s academic or creative passions. While it will still have a written component, students will be encouraged to create something new or pursue a challenge not normally found within a traditional school curriculum.

Prospective students and parents who’d like to learn more may contact Lori Bird, Swan Library Director.